The Bible – New Living Translation
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” (Deut. 32:35) says the Lord.
20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (Proverbs 25:21-22)
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Friends, these words are intended for children of God, because they are not the normal course of action for the person who has no Godly influence, or help to handle situations in just the opposite manner that one would normally expect. The actions mandated in these verses are God-inspired; God-directed; and only possible with God’s help, because in and of our natural selves we would normally lash back at those that misuse and abuse us. This is similar to another command given by God: when your enemy slaps you on one cheek, don’t lash back, turn the other cheek and let them slap you there also. Again, this is not a normal reaction to the natural sinful man. I believe a good question for the Christian would be: “why would God demand something so totally opposite to the norm?” Friends, I believe that God saw His only Son beaten, hung on a cross and crucified, but didn’t send down 10,000 angels to rescue Him, because it was all done for the purpose of showing the world (us) that His love for us extended even to the extent of crucifying His Son. Similarly, when we allow the grace of God to work in our lives and we subsequently behave like Jesus would have, we are showing the world that the grace by which we are driven is one filled with a miraculous love, a divine love. You see, what would the world learn if we reacted just like they would and expect? That we are no different to any other man, right? Now Brothers and Sisters, is this an easy thing? Absolutely not, but for those who are in the Word daily and learning about the ways of God, and constantly being reminded of things like Deuteronomy 32:35 (quoted above), then we know that the love by which we are driven is nothing like the love known by the world. Our actions are totally unexpected by the world, but we are to be obedient servants and follow the commands of Christ, knowing that He will not see His prized possessions taken advantage of. Remember, the last word is God’s, and He will settle the acts against His children. Let’s do our part, knowing full well that God is faithful to His Word and will do His part at the appropriate time. Let’s endeavor to love even in challenging circumstances, not give in and act just like the world expects one of their own to act. Let’s show that God is in control of our lives and our circumstances and we have nothing to fear!
Lord Jesus, these are very challenging directions in these verses, but thank You for reminding me that the battle is Yours and that You will revenge, if needed. My job is to love through the good times and through the challenging times, to those that love me and to those that hate me. My obligation is to be obedient, in spite of my circumstances, knowing that You have everything under control and that through my obedience You might have another opportunity to minister to that person who means ill towards me. I must be obedient to You, no matter the circumstances that face me in this world, because it is often through the most difficult, or challenging circumstance that an unsaved person might be challenged to look heavenly and find the source behind this Christian’s strength, wisdom, endurance and love. Lord Jesus, in Your name, I ask for this strength, wisdom, endurance and love to be imparted and available to me, because You have already demonstrated this type of love, and You definitely have the authority and power to give it to me. May this all be used for Your glory and Your honor, AMEN!
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